Cannabis Legalization in Canada

Toke, Toke… PASSED!

D-day’s finally here! Today, October 17, the battle against cannabis stigmatization is coming to an end, and Canada is entering history for becoming the first G-7 country to approve the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, and the second in the world to legalize marijuana for recreational consumption, sale, and production after South American Uruguay.

Now, what do we need to know about cannabis legalization in Canada, in order to avoid breaking the law? Here’s it!

Legalization Overview:

Cannabis has been legal in Canada for medical consumption since 2001, and the regulations regarding its use for medical purposes are not expected to change. The new laws will regulate only the production, sale and consumption of marijuana for recreation.  The three main factors to be taken into account according to the Canadian Cannabis Act are

  • Keeping cannabis away from children.
  • Fighting the black market.
  • Protecting public health by offering access to legal cannabis.

The law regarding cannabis legalization in Canada will include the following items:

  • AGE:  In most states, you must be 18 or over to be allowed to consume recreational cannabis. Likewise, it is illegal to sell or provide cannabis products to youngsters under 18 (19 in some states, like BC).  Failing to comply with the law could result in penalties of up to 14 years in jail.
  • PLACES: It is legal to purchase cannabis at any licensed cannabis store and to consume it in private residencies (except for residencies that are workplaces too), and outdoor public places (except in the presence of children or youngsters under the permitted age). It is forbidden to use it in indoor common areas, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and sheltered outdoor areas.
  • POSSESSION LIMIT: You are legally allowed to possess and share with other adults a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis in public. You can also grow up to four cannabis plants at home and prepare home-made cannabis products, i.e. products that do not include any organic solvents.  Possession over the limit could result in tickets for small amounts or up to 5 years in jail.
  • DRIVING:  Just like with alcohol, it is illegal to drive under the effects of cannabis.  If you’re caught driving high, you may receive a fine, have your driving license revoked or spend some time in jail.
  • BORDERS: You will need to be fully aware of the laws concerning cannabis use and possession limits outside your state’s and the Canadian borders, as the penalties may reach up to 14 years in jail.

Cannabis legalization in Canada is a huge advance. Just make sure you know the rules and stick to them, so that you and we all will remain safe and sound.

Photo by: Charles Hollman

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